I held in my hand a $210 quilt that has the latest and greatest technology inside of it, like piles of 850 goose down-filled baffles with silky 10d nylon. At my feet is a new sleep pad that was designed with body mapping technology to cradle me as I sleep. These are the kinds of things you read about and see when you start buying gear for your thru hike or outdoor adventure.
I’m like most people – ok maybe not most – but I have a lot of gear that is old, but has served me well for many years. They are my ‘go-to’ items such as my Golite quilt, Big Agnes one-man tent and closed cell foam pad that has seen better days. We each have those pieces of gear that have been with us forever, like an old friend. I know I can depend on them because they will not let me down. These pieces of gear are iconic in our minds, so it’s hard to start thinking about buying new gear for my CDT trip. I almost feel like I’m cheating on my old gear just by thinking about this new and exciting gear I want to buy. Recently, I had the opportunity to buy some gear at great prices, so I pulled the trigger and got a couple of new things, despite what I imagined as nasty looks from my old gear.
Nemo Siren 30 quilt: This quilt is the newest technology in quilt manufacturing and the first run for a company called Nemo Equipment. It’s rated at 30 degrees, weighs 18 oz, 6’ long, 10d nylon on the outside and filled with 850 fill down. If you’ve never used a quilt, think of a sleeping bag with the bottom cut out. I’ve been sleeping in quilts exclusively for 5 years and absolutely love them. By using a quilt you save weight because there is no zipper and no hood. I toss and turn during the night and this quilt is wide enough to prevent drafts from coming in and is a great piece to just throw over you as you hang out in camp.
Klymit Inertia X-lite: This is a ¾ length pad that is the worlds lightest, most compact and technically advanced sleeping pad on the market today. It blows up in about 3 breaths and is pretty comfortable. It rolls up smaller then a banana and weighs only 6.1 oz. This will be new for me, since I’ve traditionally used a ¾ length closed cell foam pad for several years, using my pack as the portion that protects my legs from the ground. I’ve never been a huge fan of inflatable pads because, in my eyes, it’s a ‘moving part’, which means it has features that could go wrong. It could pop, it could leak or some valve could break off. I purchased it because if I’m going to be sleeping on the ground for 5 months, I should get something that is comfortable. And I have to say, when I laid on it, it was very comfortable.
Rab Xenon Jacket: Weighing only 12 oz in size Large, this jacket is a synthetic power house featuring super lightweight synthetic fill that will stay warm even when wet. I picked this as my ‘go-to’ garment for early morning hiking in cold weather and in case of light rain in the cold. It comes with a full-length zipper, 2 zipped pockets and a chest pocket, which is essential, in my eyes, for storing items you will need quickly and won’t have to worry about slipping out of your pocket. I wore it recently, while walking a dog in a snowfall. It kept we warm and dry with only a cotton tee shirt underneath in 32-degree weather, for over an hour.